An elk on the move; image captured by a remote trail camera. Elk respond to the abundance of green forage that appears after prescribed fire, selecting burned sites during spring and early summer for more than a decade later. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The benefits of prescribed fire can go beyond mitigating fire risk. In fact, prescribed fires can support wildlife by creating new habitat or improving existing habitat. In the two to five years following a prescribed fire, burned areas often sustain more grasses and forbs, which offer abundant food for large herbivores like elk and their offspring.
An example of how the MotionMeerkat program identifies movement in continuous videos. Here, a remote camera captured footage of a black-backed woodpecker approaching its cavity nest in a ponderosa pine.
Remote video cameras are increasingly being used in noninvasive wildlife monitoring because they are relatively inexpensive and widely available. Reviewing and analyzing so many hours of recorded footage, however, can be prohibitively time-intensive and lead to viewer fatigue and errors.
Wind River Experimental Forest, Washington. USDA Forest Service photo by Tom Iraci.
Old‐growth coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest are among the most productive temperate ecosystems and have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon for multiple centuries. There are considerable limitations to the simulation models that have been used to explore this ecosystem.
A northern spotted owl in flight. Photo by Julie Jenkins
Threatened northern spotted owls are an important indicator species for old-growth forest ecosystems and face threats from habitat loss and competition with barred owls. Now, scientists have identified another challenge for spotted owls: increased breeding dispersal distance.
Warming in the Arctic is changing the vegetation in forest and tundra systems. For example, trees and shrubs are migrating into the tundra in some locations. At the same time, wildfire activity is increasing. What effect will these fires have in this dynamic landscape that is already experiencing unprecedented change?
The Prosopis woodlands of central Argentina, shown here in the protected Man and the Biosphere Ñacunán Reserve, provide key habitats for species such as the gray leaf-eared mouse (Graomys griseoflavus).USDA Forest Service photo by Mary Rowland.
Drylands occupy almost 50 percent of the Earth’s surface and are increasingly affected by grazing and other land uses. Mary Rowland and Mike Wisdom, research wildlife biologists with the PNW Research Station, have long studied the interplay among cattle grazing, wildlife, and vegetation at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range, Oregon.
Guanaco in La Payunia Provincial Reserve in northern Patagonia, Argentina. USDA Forest Service photo by Michael Wisdom.
Roads affect plants and animals across the world. Large mammals are particularly vulnerable to road effects because their large home ranges lead to a higher probability of contact with road networks. Disturbance associated with roads can alter the probability of habitat use by making suitable habitat near roads inaccessible or underused.
Chaparral vegetation in the hills above Whittier, California. Photo courtesy of Northwalker/Wikimedia Commons.
Chaparral vegetation is a dominant and unique feature of California’s Mediterranean-type climate. The evergreen shrubs that characterize chaparral are well adapted to long, hot, dry summers and extreme fluctuations in interannual precipitation.
Two northern spotted owlets. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr.
Because of the economic and ecological implications surrounding management of the federally threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), it is one of the most studied birds in the world.
A Pacific marten (Martes caurina) in Lassen National Forest, California. USDA Forest Service photo by Katie Moriarty.
Logging debris, commonly known as slash, is often piled and burned.